'He'll never make it'- How Trent Sainsbury went from no hope to Socceroos skipper

Trent Sainsbury Socceroos
The Aussie defender has proved a former Socceroos coach well and truly wrong

Trent Sainsbury is the latest Socceroo to don the captain's armband after leading Australia against Czech Republic, but back in 2013 Holger Osieck believed the defender would never cut it, let alone lead, at national level.

First signed by Central Coast Mariners in 2010 as an 18-year-old, Sainsbury would really find his feet under incoming Socceroos coach Graham Arnold. 

In 2013, Sainsbury was then called into the Australian squad for the East Asian Cup under Osieck, who not only didn't play the defender but was led to believe he simply wasn't Socceroos material. 

Those doubts were relayed to Arnold, with the soon-to-be national coach adamant Osieck had gotten the wrong impression. 

"He's got a very laid-back attitude," Arnold said of Sainsbury to FFA TV.

"Unless you know him it comes across as a 'who cares' attitude.

"He went to one camp with one Holger Osieck...and he came back and the report I got back from Holger was he'll never make it, because he doesn't care.

"I spoke to Holger about it. I said I've worked with him for three years, I know his attitude and he does come across like that. He does care, you've just got to be harder on him."

Trent Sainsbury Socceroos 2018

Tough love was something Arnold loved dishing out to his now son-in-law, and something Sainsbury himself inevitably thrived off.

Arnold recalled once playing Sainsbury as a right back against a rampaging Thomas Broich, with the traditional centre back inevitably learning a lot from the experience. 

"I remember one game in the first year, I put him at right-back, because he was cocky, to play against Thomas Broich," Arnold said.

"Broich ripped him apart and I made him stay out there for 90 minutes, and he learnt a lot of lessons."

Trent Sainsbury Socceroos

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With Osieck out the door at national level, Ange Postecoglou would allow Sainsbury to start shining in the green and gold as he played a key role in the Socceroos 2015 Asian Cup success.

Fresh off a strong end to his club season with Swiss side Grasshopper, the now 26-year-old will be one of the first names of Bert van Marwijk's team sheet for the World Cup. 

Handed the captain's armband in Mile Jedinak's absence against the Czechs, Australia could well have found its next long-term leader as Sainsbury sheds the rats-tail image of years gone by and proves just how much the green and gold means to him.